Tag Archives: sustainable

Plastic-free July

2 Jul

Here’s a daunting fact; nearly every piece of plastic EVER MADE still exists today!

Heartbreakingly sad image by environmental awareness photographer Chris Jordan

Heartbreakingly sad image by environmental awareness photographer Chris Jordan

I’m just emerging from a black-hole of information on the manufacture, make-up, and end-of-life possibilities of nylon vs hemp. I’m exploring their properties as two possible options to use for the pendants of my new collection.

On the one hand you have nylon which is really strong and durable, looks fantastic and comes in truly magnificent colours. But, it is made using crude oil, requires lots of energy to make it, and produces CO2 emissions and a whole lot of other nasties which you can read about on this terrific blog here.

A fact in its favour is that it can be recycled, but, let’s be honest, the likelihood of people making the effort to recycle their small bit of nylon thread is very low.

Hemp, on the other hand, seems to be the goody-two-shoes of thread! One of its most impressive credentials is that it is “among the oldest industries on the planet, going back more than 10,000 years…” (thanks HIA) Does that blow your mind? It does mine. 10,000 years? That’s what I call sustainable! (by contrast the first bit of nylon was made on the 28th of February, 1935 – and, since it is of the plastic family, we know that every single piece of nylon that has been produced since that day most likely still exists on the planet somewhere. Ick.).

Hemp!

Hemp!

Anyway, I haven’t been able to find out much about the processing of hemp (dying, factory conditions, energy required to convert it from a plant into thread etc), but the fibre itself seems almost infallible. With only 8 natural enemies (out of 100 common pests) it is usually grown without pesticides (less pollution of our water ways and poisoning of the land), has very long fibres (longer and tougher than cotton), and is even good to eat (totally irrelevant to this blog but true none the less). It’s grown in Oz but sent OS for processing as we don’t have the set-up here yet (looks like they’re planning one for Qld some time soon).

The hemp I’m considering purchasing comes from Romania (Romania has a great and long association with hemp – unfortunately 50% of the general population are unhappy with their working conditions so this may mean that it’s made in a factory where conditions aren’t so great, I don’t know this for sure yet). Another brand comes from the USA but as growing hemp there is banned, I’m not sure where the fibre comes from or where or how it is processed.

From a design point of view, hemp’s available in many great colours (which coincidently go very well with the colour scheme in my new collection), and comes in a lovely polished finish. Almost perfect. But it’s so un-cool! (Yes, I am aware of how un-cool using a term like un-cool makes me sound. What evs.) Mention hemp and most will picture a hippy in dust-coloured Hessian-like trousers. Well, people, its time we changed that. The argument for natural fibres is clearly a strong one. From start to finish, their impact on the Earth is much lower.

So caught up in the nylon v hemp battle I almost forgot to address the topic of this blog; I have signed myself up for Plastic-free July. Read more about the awesome folks in WA running this here (you could even sign yourself up!). I’ve no doubt this will be challenging, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what comes out of it. I like to participate in a bit of extreme behaviour every now and then. The last time I did something similar was the ‘two-dollar a day’ challenge set by the kids at Oaktree. I had to eat on a budget of $2 a day for a week. Think about that for a moment. No coffee (had to go cold turkey) and only the tiniest amount of milk, sugar and salt to prop up my diet of beans, oats, rice and, well, that was pretty much it. But out of that experience I learned how to fit breakfast into my morning routine, broke my dairy addiction and gained an enormous appreciation of how ridiculously hard it must be to have to survive on that amount day-in day-out (important to note that a large percentage of the world’s population have to include medical and general living expenses in their $2 a day budget). So, as I say, bring it on!

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Missy Higgins wearing Tucker & Grace jewellery

20 Nov

Well, it hasn’t even been officially launched yet but our first piece from the new Tucker & Grace collection shone bright under the spotlight while adorning the lovely neck of one Missy Higgins yesterday on a popular morning TV show. The amazingly talented Kate Tucker and I made this piece using 98% recycled materials. We’re pretty proud and we hope you like it too! Each piece in our collection is hand made so no two will ever be the same. And they’re so new they’re not even in the shops yet, but send us an email if you’d like to own one of these beauties for yourself.

Missy Higgins wearing Tucker & Grace neckpiece

Northcity4 ‘Pozible’ campaign a great success!

13 Nov

Northcity4 and I raised $2625 for our sustainable jewellery project!

As a result, I’ll be spending the next six months in residence at Northcity4 contemporary jewellery studio. While I’m there I’ll be researching and creating a sustainable collection of jewellery with the support of Northcity4 director and tenant, Ali Limb. I’ll also be working with Northcity4 to develop a list of recommendations and an action plan for sustainable improvements to their studio.

I have moved in and am LOVING spending time making jewellery surrounded by other professional jewellers and like-minded people. Here’s some pics of the studio – I haven’t quite got around to making my bench area look pretty yet but you can see it’s in a nice productive mess already.

Northcity4 Studios

Little friends at my bench

The Project Space

Thank you to all the amazing people who generously gave their support!!!

Matt Wicking, Anna Davern, Sam Dugdale, Fin Mactier, Cheryl duxson, Philippa Davern, sarah edwards, Paul Fritze, Nicola Cerini, Melanie Katsalidis, Ramona Barry, Lisa Lubbock, Ilka White, Kate Stanton, Nadine Treister, Vicki Mason, Karen O Donovan, Jane Newbery, Kirsty Smith, Roseanne Bartley, Min Oliver, Loring Harkness, Maria Lieberth, Maria Lieberth, Nina Ellis, Danni Bryant, Ali Crowe, Zoe Brand, Mel Young, Florian Kaiser, Laura Binks, Julie Kiefel, Elenni Balis, Frances Alanna Knight, Jillian Carroll, Vesna Stefanov, Emily Dunstan, Jess Fritze, Peter & Meredith Wicking, allona goren, Lilli McCubbin, Kate Tucker, Liz Kennedy, Suzy Sagar, Jess Telford, Caz Guiney, Katherine Bowman, Valerie Odewahn, Jo Jepsen, Deborah McArdle, Claire McArdle, Inari Kiuru, Lucy James, Vicky Wittmann-lamb, Liz Franzmann, Erica Sanders, Karyn Herath, Eliza Muirhead, Lara Hook and Cass Partington.

The Treasury in The Age!

13 Aug

The Treasury was mentioned in Michael Green‘s article in The Age yesterday, Fix the world, piece by piece. The article talks about FixIt‘s initiative to encourage people to get together in small groups and fix their stuff, as well as the increasing interest in repair in general. It seems you could plan a round-the-world trip based on repair cafes and hubs – I made the long and complicated trip out to visit the Fixer’s Collective while in New York only to find they were closed for the summer, oh well, next time! The Bowe Reuse and Repair Centre in Sydney sounds AMAZING. Anyone want to start one with me here in Melbourne?!

The next Treasury workshop is in two weeks (Aug 25th) – as always, places are limited to 6 so make a booking quick!

The Repair Workshops and The Treasury; same-same but different.

26 Jul

Hmmm, it seems that having two ‘repair/fixing’ projects running at the same time is confusing y’all a wee bit. Let me clarify:

The Treasury is an on-going initiative I set up in 2009 in an effort to bridge the gap between my contemporary jewellery practice, and my beliefs in the need for a sustainable future. It manifests itself mainly in the form of jewellery fixing workshops which I hold once a month at my studio in Melbourne, Australia.

The Repair Workshops is a one-off sustainability/art project I set up to take the idea of ‘repair’ and ‘repurposing’ to a wider audience – namely anyone and everyone! The project (part of the State of Design festival) will culminate in a two day, all-out fixing festival of ideas and good ol’ fashioned inspiration. Come and visit us this weekend!

The Repair Workshops featured in Green Magazine!

1 Jul

I’m so excited to anounce that Green Magazine (one of my favourite mags!) has profiled our project The Repair Workshops in this month’s issue.

This is also a great time to remind you to register your items to be repaired by our amazing collaborators over the weekend of  the 30th and 31st of July.

Speaking of collaborators, here we are!

Photo byJo Duck

Four weeks to go until the project and there’s a lot of work still to be done. We’ve been making regular visits to Vinnies and the Brotherhood to sift through their skips and  pick out the exciting bits (stuff otherwise destined to landfill) to use in our closed workshops in the week leading up to our big weekend. The fixed and re-imagined pieces made during this closed collaboration will then be on display and sold in a live auction with all proceeds going to the good people at Environment Victoria. I must say the insight i’ve gained through these visits to the opshops has really opened my eyes to what I perceive to be a very large waste problem, with the charities coping the full brunt of it. Each week they are forced to spend an average of $400 dealing with the removal of other people’s junk. I think its safe to say that most people have good intentions when dropping off stuff to charities – they think “this kettle just needs a bit of a clean and it’ll come up great” or “This table is a classic, all it needs is a fixed leg” – but unfortunately this line of thinking leads to the donated item having to be sent straight to landfill, as the charities don’t have the space, the people-power, the time or the tools/means to store, clean or fix everything that they get donated. As a natural born hoarder, and as someone who can see the beauty in almost anything, seeing all this amazing stuff go to landfill just kills me. As I said, the problem is LARGE and feeds into even bigger issues of over-consumption and they way we are geared towards a largely throw-away society, but we CAN be part of the solution. We can start by thinking twice about what we are giving away to charity and why. If you wouldn’t offer it to your best friend, then the charity probably doesn’t want it either. WASH things before you drop them off, fix the things you can and ALWAYS drop them off within business hours because as soon as they’re rained on they’re usually ruined.

Fhewf, I better leave it there, I have things to fix – and there’s only four weeks to go……

The Treasury on Fringe Lane Channel 31

21 Jun

Some time during the middle of last year, a lovely lady named Christina Laria got in touch with me to ask if she could do a short documentary on The Treasury. I had my reservations as, The Treasury was still in its infancy, but in the end I thought ‘why not?’, its not every day you get an offer like  this. And what a lovely thing it is to see this version of The Treasury suspended in time. We’ve come a long way since then, but I’ll hope you’ll enjoying watching this version of The Treasury jewellery fixing workshops as they were in 2010.

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